U19s cruise into quarter-finals
England booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Under-19 World Cup after another commanding nine-wicket win - this time over lowly Afghanistan in Christchurch.
Spinner Danny Briggs earned man of the match honours after returning figures of 3-15 as England skittled out their opponents for just 126.
He was well supported by Leicestershire’s Nathan Buck with 3-18, and skipper Azeem Rafiq, who took 2-29, before opener Chris Dent recorded an unbeaten half-century to see England home in style.
England won the toss and put Afghanistan into bat and it was not long before the pace of Buck proved too much for their top order.
Buck claimed the first three wickets of the match with Javed Ahmadi, Shir Shirzai and Noor-ul-Haq all falling to sharp catches as Afghanistan slumped to 10 for three after eight overs.
After a menacing start with the ball, Buck then featured in England's fourth wicket, taking a neat catch to dismiss Anwar Anwari off Ben Stokes to break up a 41-run stand.
Rafiq then stepped in to claim the next two Afghan wickets, the first being that of Hashmatullah Shaidi, the talented 15-year-old batsman adjudged lbw after scoring a promising 41.
New man Zakiullah Zaki lasted just four deliveries before being cleverly stumped by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Rafiq.
With Afghanistan reeling at 79 for six it was the spin of Briggs that dismantled the Afghan lower-order, the off-spinner taking the next three wickets before having a hand in running out the final batsman in the 48th over.
England's openers wasted no time in setting after the target of 127 for victory with both Yorkshire's Joe Root and Gloucestershire's Dent scoring freely.
England suffered a setback when Root was dismissed for 25 after being caught in the gully off the bowling of Ayub Khan.
But Hampshire's James Vince continued on from his man-of-the-match performance against Hong Kong by scoring at a run-a-ball and helping England reach 100 from 127 deliveries.
Dent arrived at his fifty from 64 balls and Vince finished on 47 not out as England convincingly reached Afghanistan's total in the 26th over.
England's next match on Thursday is against India, the second team to qualify from their group.